Delivering Feedback – Constructive Criticism
The world being the kind of place it is, sometimes even the most positive and fair minded manager finds they need to criticize something. How can you as a manager do this in a way that is constructive, maintains the relationship and leads to improvement. Here are some tips.
- Check the facts very carefully before you begin!
- Don’t judge the person, judge the behaviour. A person’s behaviour is not who they are. And who they are, is not your responsibility. Deal with what you have seen and have evidence for!
- Be clear, specific and factual in what you say. Focus on what is happening now and how changes will affect the future. Dwelling on the past is unlikely to influence future behaviour
- Listen very carefully to the response. Pay attention to explanations and objections – treat them with respect even if you can’t accept them. Be alert to difficulties the person has experienced; listen out for training needs and follow them up.
- Acknowledge the response and make it clear that you understand what has been said! Be honest enough to admit it, if you got things wrong and apologize.
- Express yourself assertively – not with diffidence, nor with anger or aggression. Focus clearly on the change you wish to see.
Remember constructive criticism always has a positive goal and that is to make a change for the better – keep that in mind all the time you are giving feedback.